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Trace organic contaminant removal from drinking water using local char

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conference contribution
posted on 12.02.2018, 15:10 by Josh Kearns, Mai T. Anh, N.W. Reents, K.K. Shimabuku, R.B. Mahoney, R.S. Summers, D.R. Knappe
Chemical contamination of drinking water sources is a worldwide problem. However, few locally managed, sustainable, and low-cost on-site treatment technologies are available in rural and remote situations. Char filter-adsorbers have been used to treat drinking water for thousands of years and are still widely used today. Our laboratory studies have shown that chars derived from surplus agricultural and forestry biomass using low-cost, low-emission gasifier cookstoves and drum-ovens develop favorable sorption properties for uptake of prevalent organic contaminants such as 2,4-D herbicide, environmentally persistent pharmaceuticals sulfamethoxazole and warfarin, algal metabolite 2- methylisoborneol, and trihalomethane by-products resulting from chlorine disinfection. Based on these studies we present design recommendations for integrating char adsorbers into low-cost multi-barrier treatment trains for on-site water provision. We also present field observations and monitoring data from application of char adsorbers in Thailand and eastern Burma.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


KEARNS, J. ... et al, 2014. Trace organic contaminant removal from drinking water using local char. IN: Shaw, R.J., Anh, N.V. and Dang, T.H. (eds). Sustainable water and sanitation services for all in a fast changing world: Proceedings of the 37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam, 15-19 September 2014, 6pp.


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